In news that is very relevant to the proposed Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) a new report calls for an urgent review of road building in England. The Climate Change Committee published their latest report, ‘2023 Progress Report to Parliament‘ on Weds 28th June 2023, and calls for an urgent review of current and future road building in England.
Page 420 details the recommendation that in 2023 the Department for Transport:
Conduct a systematic review of current and future road-building projects to assess their consistency with the Government’s environmental goals. This should ensure that decisions do not lock in unsustainable levels of traffic growth and develop conditions (which can be included in the Roads Investment Strategy 3 process and beyond) that permit schemes to be taken forward only if they meaningfully support cost-effective delivery of Net Zero and climate adaptation.
With the proposed LTC estimated to emit 6.6 million tonnes of carbon and a 50% increase in cross river traffic, if it goes ahead, there really is no way it should be considered in keeping with Net Zero targets and legal commitments.
You may remember that in Feb 2023 the Welsh Government announced, after a year long review of their road building programme, that all future roads must pass strict criteria which means they must not increase carbon emissions, they must not increase the amount of cars on the road, they must not lead to higher speeds and higher emissions, and they must not negatively impact the environment.
The latest call by the CCC for a review of current and future roads in England is in a similar vein. We’ve already seen industry publications saying that “The tide is turning against big road building schemes like the Lower Thames Crossing”. Let’s hope so! We’ve been voicing concerns about how hugely destructive and harmful the proposed LTC would be for a long while now, and calling for the road building programme to be suspended and reviewed. Now it remains to see what Government do in response to the CCC’s call for an urgent review in current and future road building. We understand a response might be expected around October 2023.
LTC – Carbon Emissions – click here
Highways Magazine – Time for a roads reset, climate advisers say (June 2023) – click here
New Civil Engineer – Climate Committee calls urgently for clearer policies to reduce emissions in road building… (June 2023) – click here
LondonWorld – LTC calls to pause major road project following damning climate report (June 2023) – click here
The Construction Index – The tide is turning against big road building schemes like the LTC (June 2023) – click here
The Guardian – UK missing climate targets on nearly every front, say government’s advisers (June 2023) – click here
BBC News – All major road building plans in Wales are scrapped (Feb 2023) – click here
The Guardian – Welsh Government suspends all future road-building plans (June 2021) – click here